Editor’s note: Ling-Ling Nie explains what to expect from her panel discussion at the Compliance Week 2019 conference titled, “Unlocking Career Potential: Strategies for Success for Senior Compliance Officers.”

Anyone who has a busy job knows how challenging it can be to carve out time on your schedule to focus on yourself.

For compliance professionals in particular, who often have small teams or no team at all, it is enormously difficult to press pause on the flood of e-mails and phone calls and take stock of where you are in your career and where you want to go. But, this is an important step for those who aspire to progress in their roles and expand their skills. Without a career path, you will eventually stall, and this is true for all professionals at every level.

I think most senior compliance professionals will agree that it was easier to visualize their path early on in their careers because there were typically more senior roles above them to target as their next step. As you move higher within your organization, you become the subject matter expert and the leader of your team, and the space into which you can grow becomes more difficult to ascertain.

Personally, I have found that one of the most helpful ways to navigate that space is to spend time thinking about what makes you happy in life—not in your career, but in your human life. And to ask yourself what aspects of your current role do you genuinely enjoy and which tasks do you simply tolerate. This introspection can help crystallize a set of criteria that you can then use to evaluate potential next steps.

Talking with others in similar career stages as you, as well as examining the professional trajectory of leaders who you admire, can also shed light on potential paths that you may not have considered before. 

For Compliance Week 2019, I look forward to sharing additional insight, alongside Heather Fine, Amii Barnard-Bahn, and our moderator, Kim Yapchai, at our panel, “Unlocking Career Potential: Strategies for Success for Senior Compliance Officers.”  Everyone’s path is different and unique, and I hope you will join us to learn more!

Ling-Ling Nie is the general counsel and vice president for ethics and compliance at the Georgia Institute of Technology.